middle east airline south africa flights

Middle East airline operates South Africa flights. Image: Pexels

Another Middle East airline launches South Africa flights

Saudi Arabia’s national airline Saudia has now begun to operate direct sheduled flight services into Johannesburg.

middle east airline south africa flights

Middle East airline operates South Africa flights. Image: Pexels

On Friday 1 December Saudia Arabia’s flag carrier launched direct flights from the Middle East to Johannesburg.

JOHANNESBURG FLIGHTS

Flights will operate from King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah to Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport four times a week. These flights are set to operate on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. 

The route will be serviced using a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The aircraft features 24 business class and 274 economy class seats.

The Middle East-based airline is no stranger to South Africa. It operated flights to Johannesburg until April 2020, when flights were suspended due to travel restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

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MIDDLE EAST CONNECTIVITY

The relaunch of this scheduled service comes as a result of efforts made by Saudi’s Air Connectivity Program.

The Saudi Air Connectivity Program (ACP) was established in 2021 to support tourism growth in Saudi Arabia by enhancing air connectivity and developing existing and prospective air routes, connecting Saudi Arabia to new destinations.

E-VISAS

The Middle East country is making efforts to build a tourism industry. It is opening up to tourism by increasing airlift and easing entry requirements for international visitors.

Earlier this year the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia eased entry requirements for nationals from several nations.

It launched an e-visa platform for travellers from various countries. South Africa is included as one of the nations that is eligible for these e-visas.

ALSO READ: Saudi Arabia opens up e-visas to South Africans

BUILDING TIES

The launch of scheduled flight services between the two countries is part of a plan to strengthen ties between South Africa and Saudia Arabia.   

Saudia Arabia was invited to join the BRICS group at this year’s conference in Johannesburg.  

Therefore, the forging of closer ties between South Africa and Saudi Arabia signals the beginning of new relations between the two countries, as Saudia Arabia prepares to join BRICS.

ALSO READ: United Kingdom revokes visa-free travel agreement for five countries

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